Monday, 12 December 2016

Moth Mondays - The Jersey Tiger

MOTH MONDAYS


The Jersey Tiger
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Euplagia
Species: Euplagia quadripunctaria
[aka: Callimorpha quadripunctaria]


Another highly recognisable moth next to the Garden Tiger and Cream-spot Tiger  is the Jersey Tiger[Euplagia quadripunctaria] l'Ecaille chinée.
Totally unmistakable... it is a "zebra" marked moth...with delta wings when at rest.

They are a very distinctive moth....
black forewings, very rarely through to almost white....
with white/cream, streaks on the former... through to the reverse in the case of the latter...
and rich carmine hindwings with a pattern of three black spots or blobs...
and an orange abdomen.
There is also a form, C.q. lutescens, which has yellow hindwings.


The moth seen here is is nectaring of Hemp-Agrimony.

The caterpillars, still called woolly bears, are still more like a bristly scrubbing brush than anything described as woolly!!


The forewing markings on the adults are not very variable...
but are almost always white/cream streaks on a black background...
Very rarely one finds examples of forewings that are almost completely white... with black markings.
The quadripunctaria part of the name comes from the two pairs of round spots at the end of the forewings

The hindwings are rich orange, with three black spots....
Here is an example.....

This is the only picture I have with the forewings at all open

It is considered a day-flying moth, although I have caught at least one individual in the moth trap. The adult wingspan is 52–65 millimetres, and they fly from July to September, depending on the location. It has been noted that they tend to fly close to Eupatorium cannabinum [Hemp Agrimony], where they are supposedly hard to notice because of their camouflage... not that I've noticed the latter effect!!

The caterpillars are polyphagous [which basically means "able to feed on various kinds of food"], feeding from September to May on nettles (Urtica) and raspberries(Rubus), dandelion (Taraxacum), white deadnettle (Lamium), ground ivy (Glechoma), groundsel (Senecio), plantain (Plantago), borage (Borago), lettuce (Lactuca), and hemp-agrimony (Eupratoria). The insect overwinters as a small larva.[

It can be found in Europe from Estonia to the Urals and West Russia in the North... down to the Mediterranean in the South... including the Greek Islands, especially Rhodes.... where large groups of adults of subspecies E. q. rhodosensis can be found on occasion aestivating (sheltering from the summer heat) in Petaloudes, in a place that has become known as the 'Valley of the Butterflies'. Pauline has seen this for spectacle herself whilst on a botany/birdwatching and Greek history tour.
It is slowly moving further North in the UK... where, in Victorian times, it was only known in the Channel Islands... hence the English name... and "one location in Devonshire"....and from 2004 has regularly been recorded as far north as London.


Settled conveniently on our lounge window...
with some Hemp Agrimony in the background....
this shows how translucent the wings of this Tiger moth are.
And again at night...


If you look on this Wikimedia page you will see that the dark forewings have white slashes coming inward from the leading edge.... there are always four main ones...
a small one near the hinge and two at the bottom forming a V...and one in between these.
Between the main ones, there can be small white markings... ranging from a dot on the leading edge to a finer slash of white.
But otherwise they are pretty much a constant shape.
When the wings are closed at rest, the two Vs form a Saltire with the four dots at the centre.

There is also a subspecies... rhodosensis... which can be seen in vast numbers in the valley of the butterflies on Rhodes... as mentioned, Pauline has seen these on a trip there.
There is a picture of a group of seventeen of them on the German moth and butterfly forum... lepiforum.de

And this week a bonus moth...
The Scarlet Tiger



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Callimorpha
Species: Callimorpha dominula

[Another highly recognisable moth of the Tigers is the Scarlet Tiger [Callimorpha dominula] l'Ecaille lustrée or l'Ecaille marbrée.
Totally unmistakable... it is a very dark...almost black but metallic green moth...with yellow and creamy-white blobs on the forewing and, normally, bright scarlet hindwings with black markings. The thorax is the same colour as the forewings with two yellow lines, one each side... the abdomen is usually bright scarlet with a black stripe running down the middle.
The one pictured on this page is the only one we've seen here.... yet.

The scarlet tiger moth (C. dominula, formerly Panaxia dominula) is a colourful moth of Europe, Turkey, Transcaucasus, northern Iran.
It is found in alluvial [riparian] forests, deciduous wet forests and damp mixed forest.

The caterpillars feed on many species including comfrey, willow, nettle, blackthorn and other Prunus species and poplars. The adults fly by day in June and July.

It can occur in rare colour forms, one with yellow hindwings and body and one with extended black on hindwings. There is one on the Leps.it page that has completely black hindwings with orange markings! [Follow the link, click on Arctiinae (Sub family) in the left-hand-side column...then look for the second main grouping Arctiinae Arctiini Callimorphina.... it is the first entry... click on the blue script dominula...]


This is the Garden Tiger [left] and the Jersey Tiger [right]


Next Monday... a group of moths covering all the grey Footman types....



________________________________________________________
Sources
Other than Wikipedia.... and personal observations!
Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa [ also known as Leps.it]
A superbly illustrated site.... marvellous on the Micromoths...
but difficult to use on a tablet/iPad.... an awful lot of scrolling needed.

Lepidoptera.eu   An excellent resource... with distribution maps

UK Moths This is quite a simple site... but nicely put together.

The German site Lepiforum.de - For really good samples of photos...
including museum specimens: to use....
Enter the Latin name and then select the Latin name from the list of pages found.
There is probably a lot more on this site... but I don't read [or speak] German!!

5 comments:

Kerry said...

Great photos. We walk and ride but seem to miss all the wildlife that's around us. I will be looking more carefully next year.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Two tips... walk much slower... ie: not á la randonée! More crowded London - window shopping.
And sit on a log... or the ground... and be very quiet... the wildlife comes to you.
This latter approach can also be done whilst cycling...
You have a good camera, I've seen the pix on your blog...
digital film is virtually free, but take pix that aren't necessarily artistic... but show the wildlife accurately...
they are for identification.
Then hunt for it/them on the web, you need identification guides less and less nowadays... mainly just to point you in the right direction...
I am trying to get hold of a tadpole bike...
two wheels at the front, one at the back....
you can remain sitting on the bike if you see something...
you can stop instantly, too...which you cannot in a car...
and, with the two wheels at the front, you can have binos, camera, etc...in front of you!!
With an ordinary bike, you have to stop, lay it down, find your equipment in the panier...
and, lo and behold, that is the moment the critter you have seen vanishes!!!
So, good wildlifing next year... you are about 100k further south... so get interesting species that don't reach us!!
But, you are also where a lot of the wildlife around us begins to peter out... so you've two areas in one!!

Kerry said...

Thanks for the tips. We've seen larger animals here, wild boar, deer, hares etc but its the insects, butterflies I miss. I am guilty of not taking the camera out with me, so inevitably I will miss things. Thankfully my bike has a stand, so it's easy to stop and start, just need to stop and start more often :)

LaPré DelaForge said...

Kerry, one thing I forgot to say is visit your local reserves/woods... or deliberately take much shorter walks...
I once made a calculation that I walked, including photography time and observation stops, at one kilometre per hour!
Woodland rides in the French mixed woodland offer many opportunities for seeing the smaller critters.
And to see some of these nocturnal moths, hang a white sheet over the wash line....direct a powerful light at it and watch the spectacle....
Just beware of the mozzies!

Kerry said...

Love the sheet ides. Thanks again for your useful tips.